Freakish early- and mid-June heat waves are being felt across the globe – including 50°C (122°F) in the Middle East and record temperatures near that the southwest United States – but locals in Longyearbyen found themselves brushing snow off their windshields Monday during what might be the last snowstorm before summer.
Not that this means no more snow until fall – although summer snow is increasingly rare during the past decade as temperatures have risen due to climate change. But the Norwegian Meteorological Institute forecast calls for temperatures a few degrees above zero and scant precipitation during the last week of spring before summer starts next Monday.
A thoughtful soul kindly wrapped a scarf around the statuesque coal miner in the town square as the surrounding mountains and muddy flatlands turned white, although those beyond the near horizon were invisible behind a cloud of white.
The storm occurred a few days after The Governor of Svalbard finally declared enough snow has melted in the mountains above Nybyen that it is now OK to use a snowmobile/ski trail that was closed more than two months ago. An evacuation of buildings along the mountainside was also ordered at the same time, although that order was lifted two weeks ago.